1. People need to take a step back regarding technology
At a recent Chris Addison gig, the comedian noted at one point how we’re living in an age of technological magic, and we’re all missing it. If you’d have told me about the iPhone 4 ten years ago, I’d have laughed in your face. A hand-held device with more games than the Commodore 64, that can stream video from your home computer while you’re sitting on a train, that can hold thousands of music tracks and photos, that can surf the internet, and that can do literally thousands of other things? If you’d have then also mentioned its slight problems under very specific circumstances, I wouldn’t have cared. Why today do people only concentrate on the negative aspects of exciting things, rather than being excited about the positive?
2. Gaming is becoming truly mainstream
When I was a kid, I had a few computers (one at a time—we weren’t that well-off!), and I mostly used them for games. Videogames were a geeky pursuit. Then the PlayStation came and opened things up somewhat, although that was mostly my generation growing up, drinking beer and convincing friends to have a go. Today, though, gaming is almost universal. The Nintendo DS started things off, targeting games at very young kids, women and older people, and the web took over, embedding addictive gaming into social networking sites like Facebook. Apple’s devices have gone a step further than both, providing the best gaming experience to date: novelty has returned, because releasing a game is now often relatively low-cost and low-risk; access is simple (go to the App Store, find a game, click ‘install’); prices are low (reducing risk for the consumer); and the choice is wide. Stats suggest about half of women and 40 per cent of men with iOS devices primarily use them for games, and as a long-time gamer, these are heartening statistics.
3. Media industries and laws need to be radically overhauled
The music industry sort of gets it. Although the odd lawsuit still arrives, suing someone into oblivion because they shared half a dozen tracks via a torrent, we must remember that music is now almost entirely DRM-free, affordable and also available via streaming services such as Pandora and Spotify. What’s now needed is for the ‘moving picture’ guys to realise that they could be doing the same thing. Imagine if an episode your favourite series aired on television, but was then available worldwide the following day for 59p. Would you still feel as compelled to arse about with torrents, or would you just subscribe to it? And in today’s environment, why is the UK still lumbered with archaic copyright laws that don’t enable fair-use on format-shifting? It’s insane that one cannot legally rip a CD to iTunes for personal use, and while the BPI promises not to sue people who do so, that’s a long, long way from something being enshrined in law.
4. I liked Apple’s way of multitasking in iOS 3
Seriously. The whole ‘one app at a time’ approach (apart from background music) made me focus, in a way that’s much harder on other systems. On my Mac, I’ve noticed that I often create a similar environment myself anyway—when I’m on deadline, I shut off my email and Twitter client, to avoid distractions, only letting music play in the background; when writing, I use WriteRoom in full-screen mode, to block out everything else. Luckily, iOS 4 hasn’t ruined this, and so I’m actively looking for some kind of solution that will enable me to shift from mostly working in front of my iMac to at least partly doing my writing work on my iPad.
5. Digital storage is slowly seducing me
On a recent holiday, I took my usual small pile of books, my iPhone and my iPad. Both Apple devices were loaded with music and reading material. In the end, the books remained untouched, and the iPad was used for almost everything. On returning home from the minimally decorated apartment, our walls lined with DVDs, CDs and books suddenly seemed awfully cluttered, not least because the CDs are pretty much never played anymore. I’m starting to ask myself: what is the point of buying CDs? With decent readers on the iPad, books and comics are also on borrowed time for me. And if the issues raised above in point three are solved, DVDs will also fall by the wayside.
Update: For more articles like this, Ben Horn is collecting all those he can find.